Coalgate: Former Coal Secy quizzed by CBI

New Delhi, June 20: Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta, who resigned as member of Competition Commission of India (CCI), was questioned by CBI in connection with coal blocks allocation from 2006 to 2009 during his tenure.

Summoned to CBI as an accused, Gupta, a 1971 batch IAS officer, faced many questions about the allocation of coal blocks to some selected companies during his stint as the Secretary in the Ministry, official sources said.

The Government had initially refused to grant permission to CBI to question Gupta, a bureaucrat from Uttar Pradesh, as he was a member of CCI but yielded after the agency decided to inform the Supreme Court about not getting the sanction to proceed against him.

During his period, 68 coal blocks were alloted to 151 companies and files of some of them had gone missing. The Government gave the permission on June 11 and a day later Gupta submitted his resignation from CCI.

CBI, which is probing the coal block allocation scam, has registered 13 FIRs related to alleged irregularities in the allotment coal blocks between 2006 and 2009.

In a recent FIR, CBI has named as accused Congress MP Naveen Jindal, former Minister of State for Coal D Narayana Rao and unknown officials of the Screening Committee which clears allocation of coal blocks and is normally chaired by Coal Secretary.

The agency questioned Gupta about the clearances for the allocation of coal blocks given by Screening Committee which was chaired by him on several occassions. 


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